iPad Neck - Ouch!

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iPad Neck - Ouch!

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I noticed from the time I started programming computers at age 15 that my eyesight started to deteriorate. Whether it was staring at the screen that caused the problem or not is unknown but it did seem the longer I stared, the stronger my contact lens prescription needed to be.

Another computer related injury/syndrome is carpal tunnel and while other professions such as hairdressers can be afflicted by this malady, many have had to deal with excruciating pain as a result of typing in an uncomfortable position or with poor posture for hours at a time.

In 2005 I wrote about the malady Blackberry thumb which as you can imagine is related to spending lots of time typing on a mobile device with your thumbs.

Lately I have developed an unbelievably stiff neck and I figured it was a result of sleeping in a poor position. But I have noticed each of the past few days that my pain is increasing in severity and I haven't changed my pillow. Then yesterday it hit me as I was using the iPad - I am in a lot of pain now and my neck is stretched in a very uncomfortable position. Ouch.

The beautiful thing about the iPad is you can tuck it under your arm and always have it available to you. The bad thing is you look down at it as opposed to a monitor which is positioned straight ahead. I have only had the device for a week and I have been using it almost continuously - even as a GPS and newspaper when I walk. I also use it in meetings, while on the train, at the kitchen table or in front of any TV.

I wonder if Apple knew this would be a problem and as such this is the reason they sell an iPad keyboard while none is available for iPod Touch or iPhone. After all, it is much easier to type on the iPad than the iPhone, so why the need for the keyboard? I have one and haven't even used it yet.

I have reached out to a few people I know with iPads and so far no one has told me they have stiff necks so perhaps I have heightened sensitivity or spend more time on mine than average. I would love feedback from other iPad users - do you have any neck or back pain which started after your heavy iPad use? Please forward this entry to others as I am fascinated by the potential for a new computing paradigm to result in rapid pain for heavy users.

I did some searching on the term iPad neck and it seems the only other use of the term may be from the Bearded Pony blog.



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10 Comments

Definitely the case here after owning an iPad for a month. I believe the neck pain was the worst during the second week.

I have a history of neck problems (been using computers for 20+ years), so this was a concern for me with iPad. Perhaps I was careful, but no problems so far using it 6+ hours a day since April 3rd. I think you just need to adjust your workflow.

Come to think of it, yes my neck hurts, but it's hard to blame the iPad. It' not in any different position than when I read a book.

Thanks for the reference! Although my neck has since recovered, there was a good 2 weeks or so where I wasn't so sure. For a while, my friends were calling me Zoolander because I couldn't turn left.

I actually did an ergonomic review of the iPad for my back pain blog, and came to the conclusion that it's size and form factor solve more problems than it causes. The one thing I strongly recommend is getting a stand which keeps it at a 45 degree tilt if you place it on the desk, slightly further in front of you than your intuition tells you it should be.

I suspect we will be seeing more people using it in one hand rather than resting on a desk or table, but that too presents some ergonomic issues.

Here is the link to my review:

http://backtogether.org/blog/2010/04/06/the-back-together-ipad-review-the-ergonomics-of-a-new-form-factor-for-computing/

I have been getting dull headaches in the back of my head for the past couple of months. After seeing several doctors about it, they say these are being caused by strain on my neck. These headaches started about the same time that I started using the iPad so I wonder if the iPad is the cause?

I've had one for a few weeks now, and I have noticed some upper back pain. [I found this article while looking for similar experiences :(]] It is not apparent when using the iPad, but rather after it has been put away.

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